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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Dear Sir/Madam, I am a technical artist and some years ago

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Dear Sir/Madam,
I am a technical artist and some years ago (2010-2011) I worked for a small publishing company (Company A). During my time there, I produced artwork for a book that in the end was never published. The reasons for this are that the company went bust due to the managing director being sent to prison for fraudulent behaviour, and I was made redundant a year before this happened (2011). The company obviously no longer exists,having ceased trading in 2012. Since I left them, the artwork has been sitting here on a disc gathering dust. I have now been approached by another publisher (Company B) asking me if they can publish the artwork in a book (they have offered me a fee). As mentioned, the original publisher that I did the work for have long gone and are no longer trading.
Because I am the originator of the artwork, am I allowed to offer the artwork to this new publishing company? I would assume that the copyright is mine (as I am the artist) and taking into account the original company no longer exists, the ex-boss's incarceration (he has since been released but is no longer running a publishing company), and the fact that he is never likely to publish the work; I wouldn't let him have it now anyway.
The snag was that when I worked for Company A, they were paying me a wage. Do they own the copyright still, or do I own it and am able to pass onto Company B?
I'd be grateful if you can advise.
With thanks,
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. I presume you were an employee and not working as self employed or a contractor?


Hi Ben,


Yes I was an employee.

Ben Jones :

As an employee you will not have rights to the copyright in question even if you were the one who created it. The law states that employees who create work in the course of their employment automatically assigns the copyrights to the employer. This is under section 11(2) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Had you not been employed to do the work in question it may be different but in this case it is clear that part of your duties were to do this work so the copyright will vest with the employer.

As the company is now dissolved and no longer in existence it does not mean that the copyright has gone to you, just because you created the work in question. You never had the copyright in the first place so you cannot claim that it has passed on to you. It would generally became something known as ‘bona vacantia’ and can potentially be purchased and for more details on that you can see here:


Thank you Ben. That's answered my question.


With thanks,



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